Romania’s PM fires justice minister amid tensions in fragile ruling coalition over justice system, rural development

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Prime Minister Florin Cîţu on Wednesday fired the justice minister claiming he opposed reforms in the judicial system.

The dismissal of Stelian Ion came amid tensions in the ruling coalition over a huge six-year development project for local communities worth more than 10 billion euros.

“I will not accept ministers in the government who oppose the modernization of Romania,” the prime minister said on Wednesday.

He said Justice Minister Stelian Ion “failed to complete his projects.” He said the minister had not managed to disband a controversial unit tasked with investigating magistrates for wrongdoing.

Mr Ion is a member of junior coalition partner the Save Romanian Union. The party has frequently clashed with the ruling Liberal Party and another smaller coalition party, the Union of Democratic Hungarians in Romania.

Mr Ion however claimed the real reason he was dismissed was connected to the appointment of senior prosecutors.  “That’s what’s really at stake,” he said on Facebook.

But the prime minister insisted that the minister was an obstacle in the path of reforms.

“Romania must be developed. Just because our (Save Romania Union) colleagues do not have many mayors does not mean that Romanians must suffer,” he said alluding to the development project.

The prime minister said he hoped the junior party would not leave the coalition as some members have threatened.

“This coalition is obliged to deliver reforms for Romanians. I assure you that this government continues and we will overcome this moment “, he added.

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